This past weekend Americans celebrated Independence Day.
More than simply a weekend of fun, this is our national celebration of the ideals our Nation was built upon… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…as eloquently stated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
Just as our forefathers did over 200 years ago, the new bi-partisan coalition government<, established in the New York Senate on June 8th of this year>, struggles against the oppressive policies that have made New York State one of the highest taxed states in the Nation.
The Senate members who joined the coalition have taken a strong stand for the people of Upstate New York. We are fighting for the right to overturn the tremendous damage done to our citizens and remove all or most of the more than 100 new taxes and fees that were added to this year's New York State budget. 35 of these burdensome taxes have gone into effect since April 1st and more are on the way.
These taxes are devastating to the Upstate economy, to our families, to our senior citizens, and to our local businesses. The job killing taxes that were pushed through by New York City based Senators, Assemblymen and Governor Paterson behind closed doors, in total violation of budget reform laws , included increases in energy taxes, health insurance taxes, income taxes, property taxes, and SUNY tuition.
Our disagreements are not over power or who has the largest office as the media would have you believe… it is about our ability to stand up against the New York City driven policies that are forcing both businesses and families to leave New York State in alarming numbers.
Our Nation’s unemployment rate now hovers around 10%. In New York, the policies that have been forced upon taxpayers by New York City-controlled politicians do nothing to create jobs or even retain the ones we have. They do nothing to stimulate growth and opportunity.
Every single day I hear passionate and sincere pleas for help from the people in my District. Many have lost their jobs, are struggling just to make ends meet and to provide for their family's basic needs. They are cutting costs, eliminating everything non-essential and reducing their spending. Everyone is feeling the effect of the budget, including many seniors who fear the loss of the STAR rebate program will cause them to lose their homes.
Yet despite the worst economic recession in my lifetime, the New York State budget that was adopted in April increased spending by $ 13 billion over last year's budget….and saddled us with over $8.5 billion in new taxes and fees. Clearly, if this isn’t changed now, New York State will be the last state in our Nation to escape the national recession. I was strongly opposed and voted against this terrible budget, which only passed by one vote. I am committed to doing everything I can to reverse the effects of this budget and return common sense to our state government.
Our effort is also about regaining the public's trust and confidence in their state government. I believe this is a cause worth fighting for. This may appear chaotic, and at times it is, but contrary to what is being reported, I have been working in the State Senate each and every day, doing the work you sent me there to do, representing the interests of my constituents.
This Independence Day had special added meaning for me. It is my hope our efforts will forge new polices for our state, and put New York back on the right track again.
I hope you and your loved ones had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend, as we shared our collective gratitude for the tremendous liberty and freedom we enjoy as Americans.
Catharine M. Young